Starting in 2011, Cusco decided to campaign a new image character to coincide with the popular "Itasha" movement which has birthed a hybrid culture of automobiles and the Anime industry. It was first known to have given a boost by the vocaloid character Hatsune Miku, which were used by such big named companies as Toyota, Google, and Super GT Racing.
This phoenomenon for us, has created Miss Cusco Takasaki, named after the company (first name) and the city in which the company is in (last name). Pictured below are this year's chosen campaign girls.
As you can see, in a refreshing sense - these vibrant ladies lack the obvious flamboyancy of the traditional umbrella girl or import model. This is because currently this "girl next door" type of look is enormously popular in the Japanese pop culture as well as the Anime industry. An estimated 5 billion dollar industry like this can surely boost the car scene and create exciting and new trends for trhe younger generation to invest their time into.
Cusco has a Junior Rally team with this theme on the Proton Satria Neo, competing in the races in Asia.
The Itasha tuning is most often comprised of an Anime character graphics on the exterior of the car. The question is, will this trend ever become popular outside of Japan?
Don't judge the book by its cover, especially in this case, these are full-blown rally vehicles that compete in the professional class racing. Suprisingly, we have already spotted a few Itasha in the streets of Southern California, so its definite the trend has already made its way across the Pacific.
Before each race, there is a tradition where the girls would do a ceremony to which they would rid the bad spirits and (luck) away. There are also alternate characters which can be seen in the Cusco Junior Rally Team site below. The site is only in Japanese.
Theres a good chance that these Cusco girls will make their way to the US office so stay tuned!
Reference (Japanese) Cusco Junior Rally Team Site: http://www.cusco-jrt.com/